There are certain things you can’t unsee. I once saw someone miraculously healed. It leaves quite an impression. My mom and dad were involved with something called the, “Charismatic Movement” back in the early eighties. I remember going to the, “Copper Country Holy Spirit Conference,” where I saw some really wild stuff. A faith healer came and called people out of the audience who had some ailment. He asked them to come up on stage where He would lay a hand on them and shout something like, “In the Name of Jesus, be healed!” Usually they fell backward and were caught by a team of ushers. When they awakened after several minutes, some were miraculously healed. There also were hundreds of people speaking in tongues at the same time. Usually someone stepped up to the mic and interpreted a prophecy from God. I’m not sure I would have believed it if I hadn’t been there and it hadn’t happened to people I knew.
I have also witnessed God’s Spirit move in less dramatic ways. I have experienced preaching a sermon with the intentions of saying one thing and then watching myself say something different. Usually something better. Maybe I am noticing that the point I am making is not connecting and I change course almost in mid sentence. It is not like I am being played like and instrument, but rather that God is using my experiences and abilities to regroup on the fly to convey something I didn’t plan.
When I began at Spirit of Peace, even the first time I went to worship I experienced God’s Spirit moving. It was not some supernatural, unexplainable thing but rather a feeling of genuineness and acceptance. I had heard that this church was doomed to close. After worshiping there I knew it needed to stay open. At King of Glory, my other church, the Spirit has been moving in the increased generosity and openness of its members. People visit there and are welcomed with warmth and caring. The point is it isn’t always dramatic. Sometimes the Spirit moves in small ways that lead to big things.
What I have learned about God’s Spirit is that it works best when in tandem with the human spirt. When we stop seeing our humanity as getting in the way of the Spirit and embrace our brokenness and vulnerability. As we are healed by the kindness and humanity of one another, we become agents of the Spirit to build up the church for the sake of the world. Yes, it is often messy and not something you can control or script. It is often in looking back that you can see where God’s Spirit has moved.